Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gone Clamming, Back Next Week

Am desperately trying to finish loading the Soob up for the annual trip down to the Kenai beaches for clamming. (Obviously not so desperately as to completely avoid the System of Tubes.)

So, no time to do much other than to send a shout out to Flic, hoping she will be sufficiently enraged by the Supreme Court's decision regarding large international mining concerns' newly won ability to dump waste (conveniently called 'fill') into bodies of water supposedly protected by the Clean Water Act. Take it Flic! Run with it!

I'm sure those involved with Pebble and Donlin are immensely pleased. Clean Water Act? We don't need no stinking Clean Water Act!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Channeling Gunga-din

This is a picture of:

  1. a suppurating cancer photo op exploited by an obsessed pathologist,

  2. a cross section of this blogger's brain,

  3. a beached man o' war, or

  4. a really weird fungus.

Those who marked "4" are correct; this hideously oozy thing is currently growing, weeping and fruiting (or whatever it is that fungi do) on a birch stump in my back yard.

But #2 is also a possible answer.

Stalwart readers who have kept up with us over the last few years probably have noticed that for a number of months now there has been just one water carrier on this blog....

...and, it ain't me.

At some point last winter my brain moseyed out of fertile fields of imagination into the Empty Quarter - a vast expanse of mundane thought and dreary story lines. For awhile I sat back figuring it would pass.

But it hasn't. Nothing jogs the noggin. Nothing. I figured the news that Kott & Kohring are going to go free would twang a little pang of need to write, but nope. Still wandering the Quarter.

It's a long dry spell and it looks to get even longer and drier before it breaks. Even around the old suburban homestead, nothing has jumped out and screamed - "write about me!" Oh sure, there is the immensely creepy and oozy 'what-the-hell-is-that?" fungus, the drop dead in his tracks rooster, and a few other quirky goings-on, but even those fail to jell a story line.

Guess 'Dweller is going to be water wallah a bit longer.

Not Worth a Month, a Week, a Mention

Or a Response, Apparently

Quick! Mark your calendars!

Text from Governor Palin's latest proclamation, urging all Alaskans to recognize the observance of Alaska Pollinator Week:
WHEREAS, pollinator species such as birds and insects are essential partners of farmers and ranchers in producing much of our food supply; and

WHEREAS, pollination plays a vital role in the health of our national forests and grasslands, which provide forage, fish, wildlife, timber, water, mineral resources, and recreational opportunities as well as enhanced economic development opportunities for communities; and

WHEREAS, pollinator species provide significant environmental benefits that are necessary for maintaining healthy, biodiverse ecosystems; and

WHEREAS, the state of Alaska has managed wildlife habitats and public lands such as state forests and grasslands for decades; and

WHEREAS, the state of Alaska provides producers with conservation assistance to promote wise conservation stewardship, including the protection and maintenance of pollinators and their habitats on working lands and wildlands;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Sarah Palin, Governor of the state of Alaska, do hereby proclaim June 22-28, 2009 as:

Alaska Pollinator Week

in Alaska, and urge all citizens to recognize this observance.

Prior to recognizing the bees, The Gov has issued proclamations for the following observances in June:

  • Alaska Invasive Weeds Awareness Week
  • Alaska Pacific University's 50 Anniversary Week
  • Juneteenth Day
  • Men's Health Awareness Week
  • Flag Day
  • Global Food Alaska Days
  • Automotive Service Professionals Week
  • National Trails Day
  • Fishing Week
  • Auburn Founders Day
  • Dutch Harbor Remembrance Day
  • Safety Month
  • Great Outdoors Month

These proclamations are pretty standard fare - knock out a few whereas' about a historical moment, a health issue, or a career choice, and proclaim a month, week or day the period in which to recognize that thing.

Me, I feel pretty guilty about having somehow missed Automotive Service Professionals Week. And it's a good thing that I am now aware of the invasive plants in my front yard, which, in a funny irony, are currently being pollinated by the very group we will be celebrating next week. Thanks to The Gov's proclamation, I plan on recognizing June 22-28 with the liberal application of a weed whacker. But I digress. Clearly, these things must be important -- after all, they each got a whole week.

Not worthy of notice or observance, however, is Alaska Gay Pride Month or the weeklong PrideFest held in Anchorage June 13-21. Organizers of the annual Pridefest activities there sent The Gov a request for such recognition (in addition to inviting her to attend the June 20 parade and festivities in Anchorage) but have not heard back.

With a nod to Bent Alaska, which made this point within a larger article.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Lost in a Haze of Daylight Induced Frolicking

And We Haven't Even Started Fishing Yet

Have you noticed that many of your favorite Alaskan blogs, not to imply that this is indeed one of them, have been a bit thin lately?

Most of us, I'd guess, have been burning brightly of late, cramming house/cabin related projects, garden work and as much quality time (read: outdoor with friends and beer) as we can into our short little season known as summer. As I explained to a recent transplant and Alaskan-in-training, you don't want to be regretting how you spent your summer a few months from now when the temperatures have dropped and the daylight dwindled. Nope, time to embrace the daylight and the manic affective disorder.

I'm so M.A.D. stricken that I haven't even been tempted to go off when Sarah Palin says something truly stupid:
America is digging a deeper hole, and how are we paying for this government largesse? We're borrowing from China, and when you consider that now we own 60 percent of General Motors or the U.S. government does, consider, but who is the U.S. government becoming more and more indebted to? It's China. So that leaves you to have to ask who really is going to own our car industry in America?
Where to start? I mean, given her obvious ambitions to higher office outside of Alaska, she must have some handlers by now. Either they are dumb as posts, too, or perhaps they don't read either. Psst! Guys - start doing something other than watch FoxNews. There's a whole world out there online. Start here.

I had the great good fun to attend a Goldstream Valley party the other night. It had the requisites: fire, beer, tons of potluck food, interesting people, beer, and a blue-tarp-as-rain-shelter with a spruce pole post that was tied off to all the trees around it. (There really is no end to the usefulness of a blue tarp, is there?) Lot of little kids running around, but strangely, no dogs, which is pretty much an unheard of occurance.

There were many highlights to the evening, including my conversation with an end-of-the-roader who kept announcing during breaks in the conversation that Obama was running the country into the ground. After imparting his plan to survive the coming collapse of near civilization as we know it (the plan is your basic stockpile food and weapons type plan) I went back to the main conversation by the fire. Somehow, all the guys had gravitated over to the forge (ya know, where people make stuff out of metal) leaving the remaining women and end-of-the-roader, who was by that time fixed in place by intoxication. Don't worry, he wasn't driving home.

Somehow, and I could not have predicted this, our conversation frightened our end-of-the-roader so much that he left after announcing that:
  1. We scared him.
  2. He would never reveal anything we had said.
  3. He had never been married and never intended to try that state.

Friday, June 05, 2009

The FBI's Little List, Growing Smaller By the Day

Revamped to reflect the ramifications of the prosecution's misconduct.

The earlier question, "How Many More to Go?", should be replaced perhaps with "Thanks to the Justice Department, How Many Will Get Off?" We here at FBH suspect that the list will continue to change as everyone takes advantage of some truly boneheaded behavior by the DOJ attorneys who lost perspective in their zeal to win.

Which sucks, how can you blow a case in which you have guys on tape selling their vote to Big Oil?

Santa's The FBI's Little List (First posted in December 2007 - Updated on May 5, 2009)
Items in bold are the most recent events.
  • Tom Anderson : Naughty, Gray Bar Hotel
  • Bill Allen: Very, Very, Very Naughty, Pled Guilty
  • Rick Smith: Naughty, Pled Guilty
  • Pete Kott: Naughty and Easy, Gray Bar Hotel, Going to Go Free, Heading Back to Trial Court
  • Bruce Weyhrauch: Naughty, Indicted
  • John Cowdery: Naughty, Indicted, Pled Guilty, House Arrest
  • Vic Kohring: Naughty, Gray Bar Hotel, Going to Go Free, Heading Back to Trial Court
  • Ben Stevens: Very Naughty - In the Bag
  • Ted Stevens: Very, Very Naughty and Haughty - CONVICTED! Charges Dropped
  • Don Young: Naughty and Rude, Under Investigation and Spending $ Like Crazy
  • Frank Murkowski: Naughty and Slow, Give 'im rope
  • Jim Clark: Very, Very, Very Naughty Pled Guilty
  • James C. Hayes: Indicted, Tried and Convicted, Gray Bar Hotel
  • Murilda "Chris" Hayes: Indicted, Pled Out, Gray Bar Hotel
  • Beverly Masek: Pled Guilty, Gray Bar Hotel

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

We're Doing a Heckuva Job With Fisheries

With apologies, again, for this pale imitation of the inimitable Harper's Index.
“I hope you enjoy this book, as a resource and a reminder of the visionary pioneers, scientists, and leaders who have been a part of developing Alaska’s amazing commercial fisheries. The stage is set for keeping our fisheries wild and productive, sustaining ways of life and livelihoods for generations to come.”
-- ADF&G Commissioner Denby Lloyd, in the foreward to "Sustaining Alaska's Fisheries: 50 Years of Statehood", a publication commissioned as part of Alaska's 2009 Statehood Celebration
  • Salmon caught by Emmonak for subsistence in 1980: 2,256 chinook, 12144 chum, 1350 coho
  • Est. population of Emmonak, 1980: 567
  • Chinook salmon caught by Emmonak for subsistence in 2006: 2311
  • Est. population of Emmonak, 2007: 767
  • Total subsistence chinook harvest on Yukon in 2006: 48682
  • 10 year average of that total prior to 2006: 51574
  • Percentage of Yukon area households reporting that more than 75 percent of their subsistence needs for chinook salmon were met in 20061: 41
  • Record number of chinook salmon caught as 'bycatch' by the pollock fishery, year: 122,000, 2007
  • Chinook salmon caught as bycatch in the same fishery in 2008: 20,000
  • Average # of chinook salmon caught as 'bycatch' by the pollock industry, 2005-2007: 44,000
  • Chinook bycatch cap proposed by ADF&G Commissioner Denby Lloyd to NPFMC in 2009: 69,000
  • Chinook bycatch cap supported by Western Alaska groups: 32,500
  • Chinook bycatch cap agreed to by NPFMC at April 2009 meeting: 60,000
  • Year bycatch cap will take effect if authorized by feds, treaty: 2011
  • Years in which Alaska failed to let enough chinook salmon through to Canada as provided by treaty: 2007, 2008
  • Percentage decrease in pollock abundance, per year, since 2003: 20
  • Cap of harvest set by NPFMC for Bering Sea pollock fishery in seasons A&B in 2009: 815,000 metric tons
  • Cap of harvest set by NPFMC in 2008: 1 million metric tons
  • Cap of harvest set by NPFMC in 2007: 1.39 million metric tons
1Which is a very complicated way of asking if they got enough (or even 3/4 of enough) chinook salmon for their subsistence needs.

Selected (not all) Sources:
-1980 Census of the Population, Volume 1, Characteristics of the Population, U.S. Department of the Census, 1981
- Alaska Subsistence Fisheries Annual Report 2006, Technical Paper 344, Alaska Department of Fish and Game Subsistence Division, 2009.
- "Fast Fish, Loose Fish - Who will own Alaska's disappearing salmon?", Rowan Jacobsen, Harper's Magazine, May 2009.
- "Villagers denounce Yukon king closures", Kyle Hopkins, The Anchorage Daily News, May 29, 2009.